Don't follow the path - blaze a new trail for others to follow
Many have used the example of a "rough sea" to determine the temperament and depth of competent leadership. Steering a boat on calm water is plainly undemanding in comparison to navigating on stormy seas. So when we witness leaders, hit from left field with the unexpected, like for instance, a pandemic - floundering to take control, it is naturally worrying for the population at large.
The truth is that we all understand to some degree the difficulties of leading in a fast-moving situation. Plans can and sometimes have to change direction quickly. Everyone is capable of calling it wrong on occasion. But what causes concern is when we see a lack of leadership. A leader who is flip-flopping around with no clear direction or strategy. Let alone the musings of a deranged idiot suggesting people could imbibe or inject bleach to kill a virus.
I was born a decade after the end of the second world war. I was brought up with a deep respect for all the allies who pitched in to defeat Hitler and the Nazi regime. And, as children, we were left in no doubt of how many had sacrificed their lives to gain victory, mostly men but many women also - who came from afar to make victory over the axis powers a reality. They came from the Indian sub-continent, Australasia, Africa, the Caribbean, Canada - so many countries and not least - the United States of America.
We also by chance lived in close proximity to an American Air Base, so brushing against Americans and infusing some American culture while growing up was not just unavoidable but intoxicating. There was a lovely exchange of cultures that was exciting to rural country living.
In short, I grew up with a good understanding that not only were the Americans the UK's staunch allies but they had paid a huge sacrifice to save Britain and Europe during not one, but two world wars. Many young Americans paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we in the UK were eternally and forever grateful, and speaking for myself, nothing has changed.
So I find myself at odds with what I am going to say next: Why, oh why do any Americans support and vote for Donald Trump? Is it that Americans are so close to Trump that they are unable to see the wood for the trees? I am reluctant to insinuate anyone is stupid, but if not for the love of God, for the love of life and our world, why would anyone except the uninformed stupid people let Trump anywhere near the levers of power?
But surely, half of Americans cannot all be stupid. So what am I missing? What sentient human being could possibly, by any stretch of the imagination, find a reason to defend Donald Trump? You might feel sorry for his utter lack of any form of emotional or intellectual intelligence. But he lies, he is entirely invested in himself. He is incompetent and has proved it many times over. He cannot take responsibility for anything, least of all himself. It is frankly difficult to think of anyone more untrustworthy or undeserving of any office, let alone the highest office - than Trump. Yet, here we are.
Is there no clarity between right and wrong anymore? Is any kind of behaviour acceptable - so long as it is Republican behaviour? Is that really where we have come to? - That the likes of Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham will sell their souls and trash any remaining integrity in order to shout for Trump?
The Republicans under Trump have become like a cult - people seem brain-washed and have become minions of Trump and no longer able to think for themselves. Appeasing Trump, no matter what wrongs he commits, no matter the cost in human lives and human suffering his meandering diatribes cause, it feels like every republican is afraid to speak their own mind - as if challenging the leader is heresy.
So we all need to be careful because when people become reluctant to speak their mind, democracy begins to die.
To me, Trump is the Anti-President. He is everything a President should not be. The reason it matters so much is that our world needs policing. It needs the strong to stand up for justice. It needs the example, the strength, the voice of the USA. The voice of the United States President is heard in the world - so while we have the Anti-President in office - it is not just the USA that suffers - The world suffers also.
The USA today is not the America I recognise. The generous spirit, the eternal optimism, the quick acceptance of strangers. Of course, as in every country, especially here in the UK there are divisions just as there are divisive people. America does not have the monopoly on Schmucks, idiots and thugs. Divisions usually caused by greed and fear - a lack of empathy or understanding, or the inability to try and understand an opposing view - to be able to look behind you and see the view from the other side - to walk around in another person's shoes. When fear and the self-greedy take over, this is how divisions begin and fester. It is not just the injustice but the total lack of any form of empathy - the dogma of birth - the attitude that because my father, my bubble of friends did it - it is OK.
We need a new generation of free-thinking people, grounded in truth, who can stand apart - see what needs doing and affect the changes our world so badly needs.
Don't fall into the trap of following the herd - of continuing down the path that leads to greed, hate, jealousy, envy and the eventual destruction of humanity.
Surely it is our very humanity that can save us - our capacity to forgive, to learn, to love and to move towards hope.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 18th May 2020